How To Become a Surgeon

If you have steady hands and good dexterity, feel empathy for people who are sick or in pain and understand science and mathematics, you might be wondering how to become a surgeon. Surgeons are the healthcare professionals who use operations to treat medical conditions such as illnesses and injuries. To obtain a license to practice medicine, aspiring surgeons must spend several years in school, earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree and complete training requirements such as residencies and internships.

Surgeons have some of the same job duties as other types of doctors do, such as examining patients, diagnosing medical conditions and writing prescriptions. Unlike other physicians, surgeons perform procedures called operations or surgeries. Patients are put into a state of unconsciousness by another medical professional, called an anesthesiologist, so that they will not feel pain. Surgeons use tools such as scalpels to make incisions into patient’s bodies so that they can repair damage, remove parts such as cancerous tumors and implant parts such as metal rods that help broken bones heal.

Surgeons may spend more than a decade pursuing an education after graduating from high school. First, students should earn a bachelor’s degree from a college or university in biology, pre-medical studies or a related field. During their undergraduate careers, students should study physics, chemistry, life sciences, anatomy, physiology and mathematics. To gain acceptance into a competitive medical school program, aspiring surgeons will have to get excellent grades during their undergraduate education and attain a good store on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) examination.

Medical school consists of two years of classroom and laboratory instruction, with coursework that includes pharmacology, biochemistry, medical ethics, psychology and law. Medical school students practice obtaining patient medical histories and learning the diagnostic criteria for identifying medical conditions. Aspiring doctors then spend an additional two years gaining hands-on medical experience in hospitals. They typically will also complete clinical rotations in pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology as well as surgery in order to develop a well-rounded skillset. Aspiring surgeons then complete a surgical residency program, which may last for five to seven years. Upon completing all residency and internship requirements, candidates must obtain national and state licensure to be permitted to practice medicine.

General surgeons earn a median annual salary of $343,958, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Surgeons can look forward to a positive job outlook, with the BLS anticipating an above-average job growth rate of 26 percent during the 2010 to 2020 decade. Surgeons also have the opportunity to save lives through their work and improve quality of life for the patients they help. If you show patience and compassion to people who are in pain, are good at science and can work carefully with your hands, knowing how to become a surgeon could be your first step toward a lucrative new career as an indispensable figure in the healthcare industry.

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